Gluten Free Vegan Taco Pie

I saw an idea for a Taco Pie floating around the internet. I LOVE tacos, so I just knew I wanted to take this idea and make it healthy. I basically just used my usual taco filling, whipped up an enchilada sauce to mix in, then topped it with a cornbread topping for a “crust” and it turned out amazing! I used a 13×9 inch casserole dish the first time I made it. I thought we would have way too much and I would end up throwing most of it away because we would never eat it all before it went bad. I was wrong. We had barely enough leftover. My point? This is GOOD. And it’s EASY.

Taco Seasoning

1 tbsp chili powder

2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt

Taco Filling

3 green peppers, diced

5 roma tomatoes, diced

1 large onion, diced

1 cup brown rice

2 cups vegetable broth

Enchilada Sauce:

8 oz can of tomato sauce

1 1/5 tbsp chili powder

1/4 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp

garlic powder

1 1/2 cups water

2 tbsp tapioca flour

Cornbread Topping:

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup gluten free baking flour

2 tbsp coconut palm sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I like this milk)

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp Himalayan sea salt

  1. Cook 1 cup of rice with 2 cups of vegetable broth. I generally cook my rice in a crock pot ahead of time, that way it’s cooked and ready when I need it.
  2. To make the taco filling, dice the peppers, tomatoes, and onion and saute in a large skillet. Add the rice and 1/4 cup vegetable broth. Then sprinkle on the taco seasoning. Mix well.
  3. To make the enchilada sauce, mix everything in a sauce pan except the water and tapioca flour. Once it comes to a bubble, add in the water and tapioca flour and bring it to a bubble again. Once it is bubbly, mix it into the taco filling.
  4. To make the corn bread topping, mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and the wet ingredients in a medium bowl. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Pour taco mixture into a casserole dish and top with the cornbread mixture.
  6. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Butternut Squash Apple Burger

You know what is awesome about eating plant based? All the endless possibilities of food you get to eat! I eat more of a variety now than I ever did while eating animal foods. Just take the burger, for example. I mean, sure you could top a meat burger with different things. But stripped down, a burger is a burger is a burger when you are eating one made from a cow.

But VEGGIE burgers?! You can make them so many different ways, and in doing so, you get an abundance (and variety!) of nutrition all while still enjoying what has become a staple food, at least in America it has.

Recently I saw an idea to use butternut squash and apple to make a burger. I was intrigued! My first attempt, though it tasted amazing, was kind of a fail, because it was more like a sloppy joe than a burger. I guess that’s ok, if a sloppy joe is what you’re after, but I wanted something that stayed together and had the consistency of a traditional burger.

I find that this burger is a bit softer than all-meat burgers or veggie burgers but with the recipe below it will stay together and not crumble out of the bun (like a sloppy joe). And the taste is incredible!

What I love about eating veggie burgers is that with every ingredient there is nutritive value to it. It is working for you. With meat burgers, there really is no nutritive value to them (and could even be doing the body harm – working against you. Just read The China Study if you want more information about the damaging effects of animal protein.).

Yes, animal protein is a “complete protein”, however, that just means more work for your body! Since these amino acids are already built up into a complex array of complete protein strains, your body needs to break it all down into separate amino acids before utilizing them. This significantly slows down digestion, and forces your body to work harder on breaking down protein than it should have to. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and romaine lettuce, for example, are rich in ready to use and easily absorbed amino acids. When you fuel yourself on foods that are easier to digest, your body can direct more energy into healing and repairing your body.

So what good is there in butternut squash? Why did I want to give that a try?? Butternut squash has 500mg of potassium per 1 cup serving. That potassium can help prevent high blood pressure. And with 7 grams of fiber per serving you are sure to stay regular. And did you know that 1 serving of squash has over 350% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin A? Talk about good for your eyesight! Butternut squash has 17% of your RDA in manganese which helps maintain a healthy bone structure and assists the body in absorbing more calcium. The vitamin C in squash takes part in the production of collagen which is also important for building bone mass. (Other minerals found in squash, such as iron, folate, and zinc, all contribute to bone health and protect against osteoporosis.) Vitamin C also boosts immune function. And because of the antioxidant content in squash, it may even reduce inflammation. Inflammation leads to disease and ageing, so reducing inflammation is a big deal. You don’t need me to tell you that animal proteins cause inflammation. See what I mean, these veggie burgers can work for you, not against you.

As you can see, there are so many reasons to make your meals out of plants! With this dish pictured, I topped our burgers with homemade ketchup, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and caramelized onions and served it along side some oven roasted asparagus. A simple and delicious meal!

You can find the recipe for the buns here.

Burgers:

2 cups brown rice, cooked

3 cups diced butternut squash

2 cups granny smith apples

Himalayan sea salt & pepper, to taste

2 tbsp dried thyme

1/4 cup brown rice flour (alternatively you could use gluten free bread crumbs)

  1. Slice, peel and dice butternut squash and roast in the oven at 400 for 15 minutes on a baking sheet.
  2. While squash is roasting, dice apples. After the squash has roasted for 15 minutes, add the diced apples to the baking sheet and roast another 30 minutes.
  3. Set aside to cool. Once cool, place squash and apples in a food processor and pulse it a few times. Then add the cooked rice. I generally cook my rice ahead of time in a crock pot so it’s ready when I need it. Pulse a few more times.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the flour, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  5. Shape into patties and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side either in a large skillet or on a griddle.

Roasted Asparagus:

1 bunch asparagus spears

3 tbsp olive oil (or vegan butter)

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

Himalayan sea salt, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Place asparagus in a mixing bowl and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat the spears then sprinkle with remaining ingredients.
  3. Place on baking sheet and and bake for about 12-15 minutes, until tender.

How to Make a Chia Egg

Chia seeds are one of the healthiest foods on the planet that are loaded with nutrients that can benefit your body and your brain. A massive amount of nutrients with very few calories. Chia seeds have fiber, beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and a fair amount of B complex vitamins. But they don’t just deliver on just vitamins and minerals, chia seeds are also packed with antioxidants. Antioxidants help the fight against ageing and even some cancers.

Chia seeds are also a complete protein.

Because of the nutrients found in chia seeds they have been shown to help control appetite, improve memory and mood, control sugar cravings, improve skin, hair & nail health, lower cholesterol, and normalize blood pressure.

You can see that chia seeds are a powerhouse! All you have to do is sprinkle them in your diet. Throw some in a smoothie, oatmeal, granola, or your salad. Or like I like to do, replace eggs in a recipe with chia seeds. You get the binding action you are looking for all with the incredible nutritional benefits of chia seeds. (And no, it doesn’t compromise the taste. In fact, I never taste the chia seeds regardless of how I use them)

For 1 egg:

1 tbsp chia seeds

3 tbsp water

  1. Mix chia and water in a small dish and wait a moment. It will turn gelatinous.
  2. Use this mixture in place of an egg in your baked goods.

** For 2 eggs, just double it. For 3 eggs, triple it. **

Migraine Relief

Studies have been showing that just sniffing green apples can reduce the severity of a migraine.

Ginger contains more than 200 substances in its oils (which is why there are so many uses for ginger). One of those uses is that ginger may block prostiglandins which control inflammation, have an impact some hormones, and stimulate muscle contractions. This is why it is thought that ginger can reduce or stop migraines, by blocking the action of prostiglandins.

I don’t get headaches or migraines very often, but when I do, I head straight for the green apple and ginger. I juice both the apple and ginger together and drink that.

In addition to the juice, I also apply essential oils. I like to help my body do it’s job. Substances found in nature and from plants can help assist the body to do what it knows how to do. So I refer to nature, then step “out of the way” and let nature take its course. It’s also crucial to rest when you have a migraine. Go to a cool, dark, quiet place, after taking this protocol, and let the body deal with the headache and what is causing it.

PROTOCOL

Juice: 1 green apple and 1 inch ginger root

Apply: 2 drops of Frankincense, 2 drops of Lavender, 2 drops of Peppermint on the crown of your head

Apply: 2-3 drops of peppermint on the bottom of both feet

Why those essential oils?

Frankincense – can help body deal with inflammation

Lavender – has a calming effect and also helps body deal with inflammation

Peppermint – helps body deal with pain and inflammation

Super Smoothie

This is one of my favorites. With all the greens, you wouldn’t think it is very sweet, but it is!

Juicing is an easy way to get all your greens in daily. But with juicing, you take the fiber away. This is good in that you are putting those nutrients on a fast track to your blood stream so they can get to work right away. But everyone needs fiber to flush the system from the toxins. So this juice and smoothie combo is the best of both worlds. By taking the juice and blending it with avocado and banana you create a fiber-rich drink that is also smooth and creamy. Plus, thanks to the avocado, you are getting healthy fats, as well.

This juice is rich in potassium, vitamin C, and iron.

The nutrients in this smoothie have the power to cleanse the intestines, boost your immune system, reduce your blood pressure, and rebuild your red blood cells.

And I promise you that it tastes so good you’ll suck it down so fast you’ll wish you made more….so maybe make it a double! 😉

First juice:

1/4 pineapple

2 celery stalk

1 inch cucumber (or zucchini)

1 cup spinach

1 cup dinosaur kale

1 whole swiss chard leaf (stem and all)

1 green apple

Then blend:

Juice (from above)

1/2 avocado

1/2 banana

1/2 cup pure aloe (I scoop mine right out of the aloe leaf)

  1. Juice pineapple, celery, cucumber, spinach, kale, chard, and apple.
  2. Put juice in a blender and blend it with avocado, aloe, and banana.

** Optional…occasionally when I am feeling rather hungry I’ll add a 1/2 cup of oatmeal and 3 tbsp of ground flax to the blender.

 

Gluten Free Graham Crackers

I wanted to make a crispy graham cracker but also incorporate the texture and nutritional benefit of oats.

Oats are full of soluble fiber which is a great addition to the digestive tract to keep things moving along and help you expel toxins. But did you know oatmeal has many other benefits as well? Such as helping to lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, and lower your risk of colon cancer (again, because of that soluble fiber moving things OUT of the body). Oatmeal has a low glycemic index, so it doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels, it has 6 grams of protein which makes it great for athletic performance (oats have been shown to boost athletic performance when consumed at least an hour before exercise!).

Oatmeal can help you sleep, too, because oats have melatonin and complex carbs that can help more tryptophan get into your brain. They also have vitamins, like B6, which is a co-factor in producing more serotonin in the brain. Oats are also a great source of antioxidants. Avenanthramides, which are antioxidants unique to oats, inhibit inflammation and produce nitric oxide which reduce hardening of your arteries.

You can see why I like to incorporate the use of oats any chance I get. I love a warm bowl of oatmeal topped with berries and bananas. But this time I used oatmeal to make a cracker. A snack I can feel good about serving my kids. They get a snack and they get to boost their nutrition at the same time. You just can’t find that in the bottom of a bag of chips!

1 1/2 cup gluten free oats

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar (or maple sugar or date sugar)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

3 tbsp coconut oil, softened

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tbsp water (may vary)

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.
  3. Add the softened coconut oil and vanilla, and mix with a fork.
  4. Add the water 2 tbsp at a time until a soft dough forms. Not too wet and sticky, not too dry and crumbly. You want just enough water to create a dough ball.
  5. On a sheet of parchment paper, roll or press our your dough to desired thickness. You can cut shapes with a knife, pizza cutter, or cookie cutter. I use a cookie cutter and keep rolling up and pressing out the left over dough until all the dough is used.
  6. Carefully place each cracker on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Flip over each cracker then bake another 7-10 minutes until they are crisp. Watch them carefully so they don’t burn.

Creamy Salad Dressing

I love all the other dressings that I have posted, but this one is probably my favorite. The one I go to most often. It tastes better fresh made, but will last in refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.

1 egg (room temperature, this is important)

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp mustard powder

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

1/3 cup vegan butter (or you could use olive oil, the taste will vary slightly)

salt/pepper, to taste

  1. Whisk the egg, then add to a high speed blender.
  2. Add all other ingredients to the blender with the egg.
  3. Blend on low speed until combined and creamy.

 

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Quick Bread

Half joking (half not joking) my son said he wished I would make chocolate chip bread. My boy loves bread and chocolate. They are two of his favorite foods. So I took that challenge and surprised him with this!

A quick and easy bread to make to have on hand for snacks and/or dessert.

1 3/4 cups Gluten Free Baking Flour

6 tbsp tapioca flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt

1/2 cup coconut palm sugar (alternatively you could use date sugar or maple sugar)

6 tbsp vegan butter (coconut oil would work as well), room temperature

1 cup coconut milk yogurt, unsweetened vanilla

2 chia eggs **

3-4 ounces Enjoy Life chocolate chips 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a loaf pan with coconut oil.
  2. In a large bowl mix together all the dry ingredients.
  3. Add all the wet ingredients and mix with a hand mixer.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes at 350, then reduce to 325 and bake for another 25-30 minutes.
  6. Let cool for 15 minutes in loaf pan then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

** 2 Chia eggs: 2 tbsp chia seeds + 6 tbsp water mixed together in a small bowl. They will turn gelatinous and this will replace eggs without compromising flavor.

Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

Another tasty pancake option!

1 chia egg **

1/2 cup plain coconut milk yogurt

1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used Oat Milk)

1 1/4 cup gluten free baking flour

1/2 tsp aluminum free baking powder

1/4 tsp Himalayan sea salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 large honey crisp apple, peeled, cored and minced (I used my food processor for this. Alternatively, you could also grate it using a grater. I don’t recommend applesauce, it’s too runny)

  1. Heat a griddle to medium high.
  2. To a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together.
  3. Add the wet ingredients and mix well, until there are no lumps.
  4. Fold in the minced/grated apple.
  5. Ladle onto the hot griddle and cook each side for about 5 minutes each side, until golden brown. I have found that letting the batter sit for about 5 minutes before ladling into the griddle helps the batter “settle” and it doesn’t spread so thin.

**To make a chia egg use 1 tbsp of chia seeds and 3 tbsp of water. Mix together and let sit for a moment, it will turn gelatinous.